Kagame made the string observation yesterday as he participated in the virtual 14th Extraordinary African Union Summit dedicated to the African Union’s 50th anniversary declaration on Silencing the Guns in Africa, which is also the theme of the year 2020.
“The only sustainable way to silence the guns in Africa is to deal directly and swiftly with the political and economic factors that create the conditions for violence and strife in the first place. Accomplishing this is within our power as a continent and it must be our priority,” he considered.
President Kagame observed that there is progress made in strengthening the African Union’s ability to contribute meaningfully to peace and security and observed that more efforts need to be rallied to squarely address the issue.
“Progress has been made in strengthening African Union’s ability to contribute meaningfully to peace and security. One example is the operationalization of the African Union Peace Fund, which has been funded by Member States at the highest level since it was established in 1993, with nearly $200 million. This is a good step but we must recognize that conflict cannot be ended by treating the symptoms of cleaning up messes after the fact,” he said.
Kagame commended the African Union Commission, as well as the High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Ambassador Lamtane Lamamra , for the efforts made toward fulfilling this mandate.
Conflict, violence and insecurity continue to be major threats to realising the African Union’s Agenda 2063. To address widespread instability in Africa, and with the aim of leaving a continent at peace to the next generation, Africa’s leaders committed to working towards a continent free from conflict by 2020.
It has been seven years since the declaration, which has become known as Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020, and four years since the Master Roadmap of practical steps towards implementing its objectives was adopted.
President Kagame, however, observed that there is still a long journey to end conflict in Africa because backsliding still happens in some places.
“Africans, of course, are the ones who pay the price. The self-evident need to renew this program for another ten years is an acknowledgement that we have collectively fallen short,” noted Kagame.
During the summit, a minute of silence was observed in memory of fallen AU peacekeepers and victims of violence in Africa.
The Declaration on Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 was adopted by the assembly in 2013.